I recount a storey about playing a course with solid fairway undulations in some of my golf advice. For recreational players, I can understand how the course could be disappointing. On the golf course, I rarely had a flat lay. The terrain was so mountainous that I was virtually always hitting at a slant. The majority of the time, I was going downhill.
If you’ve ever played a course like this before, you know how difficult it can be to hit from a downhill lie. It’s especially challenging for casual golfers, who are sometimes intimidated by a downward slope and have inadequate experience hitting from this type of lie. The end product isn’t beautiful, and it doesn’t help the player lessen his handicap.
It’s mostly an issue of making the appropriate adjustments while hitting from a downhill slope. I teach these in my golf lessons and golf tips, but striking from a downhill slope is obviously the best way to learn how to do it.
The four changes I recommend are as follows:
- Create a setup that is specific to the slope.
- Re-establish your stance with the ball.
- Swing in the direction of the incline.
- Pursue the ball all the way down the hill.
When dealing with a downhill lie, keep two things in mind:
(1) a shot from a downhill lay tends to fade right
(2) the slope impacts the club’s loft.
The slope’s tendency to diminish is an unintended consequence. You won’t be able to do much about it. Even if you hit the ball precisely, it will tend to fade right; thus, as I emphasise in my golf classes, learn to cope with it as best you can.
The loft at the club is unique. You should be able to handle it without difficulty. On a steep slope, a 7-iron becomes more like a 5-iron, needing a club selection change based on how far you are from the green. It’s difficult to determine how much of an adjustment there will be. Golf instruction sessions are also ineffective. You can only know how much to make based on your personal experience.
Also, make sure your setup is appropriate for the terrain. That involves keeping your spine parallel to the slope and putting your weight on your front foot during the backswing. As a result, your shoulders will naturally slant downward to meet the terrain. Clean contact with the ball, which is positioned toward the back of the stance, is ensured by these adjustments.
The trajectory is another issue with downhill lays. Hit down and with the slope to generate height, as if you were chasing the ball downhill. Force your right shoulder to follow the ball to the target and pursue it for as long as you can.
Also, at impact, don’t let the weight transfer get out of hand. Maintain as much balance as possible during the swing, and finish with good, smooth follow-through. The follow-through is made more accessible by clearing your left hip as you swing down and through the ball.
As I highlighed in my golf lessons, these adjustments to your setup and swing are nearly identical to those required for uphill stances.
Uphill lies place the weight on the back foot, the ball is positioned front in the stance, and the inclination to tug the ball left is induced by a golfer’s hands becoming hyperactive through impact. Additionally, focus on preparing a large takeout. This adjustment counteracts the natural propensity to narrow your backswing on an uphill slope.
You must control weight transfer and swing down and with the slope regardless of whether you are going uphill or downhill. At the instant of impact, you must also maintain head control by keeping it behind the ball.
You’ll hit better shots from a sloped fairway if you apply the alterations I offer in this golf lesson the next time you play a hilly course. You’ll gain confidence as you play a hilly course, and high confidence never hurts anyone’s golf handicap.